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When you”re stressed, you”re constantly looking for any source of comfort or familiarity. Junk food is an easily accessible source of comfort, ¬†which typically leads to extreme overeating in response to a stressful event. While it temporarily calms you down, the effect is not permanent. Some people actually have the opposite reaction with stress and tend to starve themselves as a form of self-punishment.

Aches and Pains
Unfortunately, the same hormones that make your body more aware and reactive also cause increased aches and pains. In addition, you unintentionally tense many of the muscles in your neck, back, and shoulders due to the tension. If you”re stressed, try to focus on staying loose and relaxed throughout the day. A massage therapist or chiropractor could even be necessary in extreme cases.

Substance Abuse
Similar to how people turn to food for comfort, others take a darker turn toward substance abuse. It seems easier to drink or smoke away the problems rather than deal with them directly. While they are temporarily effective, these habits are dangerous and addictive, so it”s not worth it in the end. Anyone who relies on substances to deal with stress should get help as soon as possible.

Weight Gain
The cortisol hormone released by stress has recently been linked to weight gain and increased levels of fat storage. Stress messes with our metabolism and causes the body to store up more energy from the food we eat. Unfortunately, it also stores this fat in the abdominal region, which is unattractive and is also associated with major health risks.

Weakened Immunity
The last major effect of stress is the weakening of the immune system. Even if you”re normally very healthy, have a good diet, stress can overpower all of that. It”s very likely that you”ll get sick during a time of heavy stress, so make sure you”re practicing stress management techniques.